Tech Tips

Master Techs: Poulsbo RV’s Secret Weapon

Being an RV Technician is not a simple thing.

First, let’s consider what an RV actually is: a house that must be able to endure what is essentially a small but continuous earthquake for hours at a time whenever you take to the road.

That would make an RV Technician a person who:

• Maintains and repairs roofs made of everything from tin to fiberglass
• Fixes framing made of anything from wood to aluminum to steel
• Deals with all manner of plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, heating, propane, gas and hydraulic systems
• Installs Satellite systems, and maintains Wi-Fi and GPS systems
• Repairs or replaces and installs appliances, generators and furniture
• Installs or repairs towing systems
• Inspects, repairs, or replaces brake systems
• Change the oil and fluids on RV engines

And all of this on an object that must be strong enough to withstand continuous earthquakes for hours at a time.
But that’s not all. In fact, it’s not even the half of it.

The same technological advances that have come to our homes and cars have also been racing forward in the world of RVs. Back-up cameras, solar systems, GPS systems, and more. With each new product comes a new subject to master and teach.

So we at Poulsbo RV have a training program to keep all our techs up-to-date and ready. Primarily responsible for that is our Master Teacher: Bill Sauders.

Master Technician Bill Sauders got his start repairing and maintaining RVs 47 years ago. He’s been teaching for 17 years. He’s seen the evolution of the modern RV firsthand.

“When I started in 1970, the average trailer had a refrigerator, a heater, a cooktop/oven, and gas lights. Today we have satellite systems, coaches with Wi-Fi and cellphone boosters. ” And it’s changing every day.

The way Bill runs his Five-Stores-A-Week weekly classes usually begins with a video of an older version of the day’s subject. It often brings a laugh to the class as they shake their heads at the antiquated tech. Then, it’s all hands-on; a mechanical dissection that takes place at each table. Bill will sometimes stay later to be sure every one of our techs get their hands dirty. Only then is class dismissed and the workday starts.

All this happens, usually, before sun-up.

Essential Apps for RV Travel

Essential Apps for RV Travel

Whether you’re a full-time RVer or just take the rig out when you can, there are certain apps that you need to have.  Here is our list of essential apps for Rvers.

  1. Allstays: Camp & RV

This app does a great job of helping you find RV campgrounds and other resources.  With close to 30,000 listings, the app provides help to RVers nationwide.  In addition to the campgrounds and dump stations, hazards of the road such as road work and low clearance bridges are also included.  There is a one-time purchase fee, and the app is available on both iOS and Android devices.

  1. InRoute 

InRoute is an app that will help you plan which roads to take.  Free to download, this app shows elevation changes, curviness of each road, and upcoming weather conditions to help you avoid those paths you’d rather not take your RV on.  Unfortunately, if you have a device that runs Android, InRoute is only available with iOS.

  1. RoadTrip

RoadTrip was created to help RVers track their maintenance, fuel costs, efficiency and more.  With RoadTrip, you can see your day by day expenses and can even create custom images of expenses you may be able to write off on your taxes.

  1. SaniDumps 

Created by an RVer, this app will help you locate the nearest dump station.  When your tanks are full, SaniDumps finds where your RV can go!

  1. State Lines & Legal Heat

Another super helpful app is State Lines.  This app shows important changes in the law as you move from state to state.  Find out whether gas will be cheaper, whether you can buy alcohol on Sunday, etc.  If you carry a gun, the app Legal Heat will help you determine the variance in state gun laws.

  1. Campendium

This is a free app that gives you a lot of great reviews on campsite and is a fantastic resource for boondocking!

  1. Weather Channel

Make sure you know what you’re going to be dealing with on your outdoor adventures! While there are many apps that offer the weather, the Weather Channel is easy to navigate and pretty accurate in the hourly breakdown.

There are thousands of useful apps available to RVers.  These are a few of our favorites.  Which do you never leave home without?

Keeping the RV Warm

UNDERSTANDING HOW THE HEAT WORKS (IT MAY BE DIFFERENT FROM YOUR HOUSE) MAY TAKE A LITTLE BIT OF TRIAL AND ERROR, BUT ONCE YOU’VE GOT IT DOWN, YOU’LL FIND YOURSELF WARM AND COMFORTABLE ON THOSE CHILLY NIGHTS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON SOME WINTER CAMPING. 

First, you need to figure out if you have a propane furnace or an A/C unit with built in heat pump. Your RV might have both. See what you can find out about your specific set up before you start messing with knobs and settings.

A propane furnace works great if you are going to encounter freezing temperatures. You can keep the furnace set to a lower temperature, around 55 degrees, to keep the RV from freezing. If you have another heating option, you’ll probably want to use that for the main source of heat as running the furnace burns a decent amount of fuel. This is also a great idea when you have pets who are staying back from your day trip.

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Does Your RV Need to be Repaired due to the recent Snow Blast?

Snow is beautiful. Snow is fun. Snow is dangerous for RV Roofs!

The reality is that when it’s not Camping Season you’re probably thinking about, well everything except your RV. Unless of course you’re dreaming of jumping in and heading somewhere warm! While you’re in the house cuddling up in your warm house watching TV, snow could be building up on your RV Roof. Read More

RV Skywatching in 2017 — Preparing for the Eclipse

So, you’ve decided that this is the perfect RV season to begin skywatching. With this year’s upcoming eclipse, you picked the right year.

Let’s start with what you need to view the eclipse. For no money at all, you can build a pinhole projector. For this method, you’ll need:

2 sheets of white cardstock or stiff paper
scissors
aluminum foil
tape
a pin

Step one is simple; cut a square hole in the center of one sheet of cardstock or stiff paper. Next, cut out a piece of aluminum foil larger than the cut out hole in the paper. Tape the foil to cover the hole in the cardstock.

Finally, make a small pinhole in the foil. You are now the proud owner of a pinhole projector.

To use it, place the uncut piece of cardstock on the ground. Then, with the sun (or eclipse) behind you, hold the foiled cardstock a few feet above it. The further you hold your pinholed sheet from your projection screen, the larger the projected image will be. Play with the distances until you get the best image for you.

Pinhole Projector Diagram

Pinhole Projector Diagram

And that’s it. Or do you want something better. More direct?

There are glasses that will protect your eyes if you look toward the eclipse itself.

We at Poulsbo RV cannot stress strongly enough that you should NEVER look directly at an eclipse.  You cannot trust your sunglasses, your ski goggles or anything not made to those specifications to protect your eyes. That said, there are glasses specifically made to let you watch the eclipse SAFELY.

What you want to look for are glasses that meet or exceed the ISO 12312-2:2015 specifications. As an example, you can order inexpensive, disposable viewing glasses (in bulk or just a few) at http://www.eclipse2017.org/glasses_order.htm.

For and example of something more substantial, Amazon carries reusable eclipse glasses such as these.

Do you want to photograph the eclipse, or view it through binoculars or a telescope? For less cost than a specific-made filter for these devices, there are filter sheets which you can securely affix to those devices, such as this.

There are many options to pretect your eyes from an eclipse.

Eclipse Eye Protection Options

Whichever way you choose to view this once-in-a-lifetime local event, be sure be safe. Your eyes can’t be replaced. Once you’re certain of that, enjoy. Listen as the natural world around you hushes over and colors become not-quite-right. And then rejoice at the beauty of the sky above. It’s truly a wonder. Don’t miss it!

RV Skywatching in 2017 — The Show that Never Ends

One of the unique opportunities of RVing is the ability to see the night sky—not the night sky of our cities and suburbs—but the true, inspiring darkness and sprays of stars that fascinated our ancestors. That moment when you show a child the Milky Way for the first time and watch the realization of the true sky seep into them…

Step one to enjoying the night sky is to find a place to camp that gets TRUELY dark. This can actually be harder than you might imagine. A good resource to tell if your destination will have good darkness levels is http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/. This web site, even though it was created in the fly, has the best interface I’ve found for locating good observation sites.

A telescope is a wonderful investment for an RVing family, but even if you choose not to go quite that far, 2017 has several great sky shows for which no (or little) equipment is needed. For instance, plan to stargaze during meteor showers. Here is a handy table of this year’s most spectacular displays:

Meteors 2017

Most easily viewed Meteor Showers of 2017

 

But best of all, Aug. 21, 2017 will bring a nationwide Total Solar Eclipse, ideally viewed locally in Oregon (see totality illustration below). The eclipse begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m. The 60-mile wide path of totality—when the moon completely blocks the sun—will last for two minutes starting at 10:15 a.m. You MUST protect your eyes (NEVER look directly at an eclipse), but a quick pinhole camera or ISO certified eclipse viewing glasses will do.

Note: This is an event that people travel the world to see. To get a campground spot, call for reservations as soon as possible.

 

Total Eclipse Path

Eclipse Totality Region through Oregon

Basic Rules of Boondocking

Have you heard of boondocking?  Boondocking is the practice of camping without hookups.  The benefits to boondocking are that you can camp on any land, usually BLM land, see places you wouldn’t usually in your RV, and it’s free!  What’s better then free camping?!  If you’re going to start boondocking, there are some rules you should be aware of.

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Tips for RV Winterization

The leaves have changed and the weather has turned chilly. That means we are officially in the fall season. This also means that the camping season is over for a lot of people. For those non-snowbirds, it’s time to make sure that you winterize your RV to save yourself costly repairs from winter’s freeze. Is this something every RVer can do?

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